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Gentle Acids Skin Care Routine

The Best Ways to Incorporate Gentle Acids into Your Skin Care Routine

Acids don’t have to be a treatment, nor do they have to be harsh to be effective.

In my personal experience, having both sensitive and acne-prone skin simultaneously can be a serious feat to overcome. How do you properly attack breakouts with acids while knowing the skin around it will react adversely to the treatment itself? It seems an impossible feat. 

Acids, like AHAs and BHAs, although effective for a myriad of skin concerns, can be a difficult ingredient to incorporate into your skin care routine, especially when mainstream skin care focuses so little on promoting gentle acid options.

K-Beauty, with its focus on gentle acids and soothing ingredients, is actually the perfect middle-ground for finding acidic products that are both effective and suited for sensitive and combination skin

Not everything about acids needs to be harsh, rather, they can be used to work dead skin and acne off without any unwanted side effects. Sometimes, these gentle acids even work to moisturize and hydrate while they’re sloughing off dead skin cells and impurities!

Explore gentle acids and non-irritating exfoliating options for each step of your skin care routine below so you never have to deal with bothered skin again.

Oil Cleanser

Did you ever think an oil cleanser could be exfoliating? The Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil, comprised of nourishing olive and jojoba oils, is great for makeup removal and cleansing all around, but it’s the addition of PHAs (polyhydroxy acids, one of the most surface level chemical exfoliants) that makes this product (and your skin) shine. These acids work to buff off dead skin cells keeping texture clear and blackheads at bay, but because it’s in an oil based product, it doesn’t allow the skin to over dry. 

Cleansing Gel 

 No cleanse is complete if you’re not double cleansing, and the Then I Met You Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel is an amazing grab for any gel-based cleanser fans. While PHAs also go to work in this cleansing gel, licorice root extract and rice ferment also pitch in, adding even more gentle exfoliation that will lend to brighter skin over time. This particular gel also contains green tea which is incredibly soothing and a great source of antioxidants to help repair damaged skin, making it an all around winner. 


Toner can be a true secret weapon when it comes to soothing and treating skin. Some By Mi’s AHA-BHA-PHA 30Days Miracle Toner contains AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, alongside tea tree, witch hazel, and niacinamide for an ultimately lending to exfoliation on multiple layers of skin. In turn, you’ll notice clearer skin all around! Don’t let the long list of exfoliating ingredients scare you either – this has been dermatologically tested for sensitive skin and has an optimal pH of 5.5.


If you haven’t tried snail mucin skincare yet, now is your time! The Benton Snail Bee Ultimate Serum formula contains snail mucin and bee venom, the first of which works to repair the skin’s natural barrier and the latter of which targets and calms inflamed breakouts. The addition of niacinamide brings forth additional acne-calming and brightening benefits and rounds out the serum as gentle enough to use during the day but effective enough to keep acne at bay. 

Balancing Cream

Finding the right balance of hydration is key when it comes to exfoliation and acids. This The Plant Base AC Clear Magic Cica Cream is particularly soothing, featuring squalane and centella asiatica leaf extract, but also highlighting some gently buffing ingredients such as licorice root extract. Because it provides much more hydration than exfoliation, it won’t dry out your skin and rather will leave you with incredibly soft and supple skin. 

Some Basics to Remember

You don’t need to use all of these products – mindfully swap out 1-2 products in your routine rather than buying an entire exfoliating routine. On that note, it’s all about balance – remember to moisturize and hydrate because even oily skin needs oil!

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